@ O2 Islington Academy, London
24th January 2013
Review & Photography by Graham Hilling
Despite a bitterly cold Thursday night in London there is a very decent crowd assembled for tonight’s line-up bands!
Chimp Spanner who are opening this evening, is the brainchild of multi instrumentalist Paul Ortiz who has been involved in many projects, as varied as providing music for games, tv, sample cds and advertising. Live, Ortiz enlists the help of Boris Le Gal on drums, Jim Hughes on guitar and Adam Swan on bass.
Swan is absent this evening, and you’ve got to think that the bass is going to be missed. Looking at Chimp Spanner on stage though, with an extra thick guitar sound and it all sounds pretty damned good to me.
Musically, CS play long, complex songs with no shortage of musicianship on show, Ortiz himself is a fine guitarist who plays beautifully flowing solos (in addition to doing all the writing).
Le Gal is a powerhouse of a drummer and this propels everything forward with just the right amount of pace, placing a good deal of welcome tension into the mix.
No shortage of appreciation from the floor too, this evening we have an audience that can appreciate some of the finer nuances of the music they’re hearing.
A sadly short set (CS could easily play for an hour or more) leaves them looking like they’re only just started moving through the gears. My only criticism is the lack of vocals, I don’t mind the odd instrumental but a complete set with no vocals leaves me missing the focus that a vocalist can engender. Still, you can’t have everything!
Next up this evening are 6 piece, Devil Sold His Soul from England. Playing a mix of progressive metal crossed with metalcore. Sadly, after Chimp Spanner, they sound a little less polished than they otherwise would have.
The songs are a little bit generic although they do show a competent ear for picking a riff, sometimes these are over used though, with a bit too much repetition in evidence.
Keys add an extra element into the mix, definitely adding atmosphere to intros and outros and an extra layer to the already heavy sound.
The vocals of Ed Gibbs are passionate and convincing although the sung parts are a little strained live. The best material comes from the latest recording “Empire of Light” with “Crusader” and closer “End of Days” being the best cuts.
The latter of these two is one of the strongest songs in the set although it does go on a little too long for me (recorded length is over 9 minutes). The reprise at the end of the song just drags on too long for my taste. Not a bad performance by any means but to be sandwiched between the musical might of Chimp Spanner and an on top form Sylosis was always going to be a difficult slot to fill.
And so to Sylosis; a band I first saw in 2007, and how they have matured and turned into something very impressive in 2013. For those not familiar with what Sylosis sound like, I would urge you to take a listen. What started out as straight thrash has now mutated to encompass a multitude of metal styles, all fused together seamlessly.
Add in a huge dollop of top notch playing and clever and complex song writing and you have something pretty impressive. Straight off a support slot with no less than Lamb of God, you’d expect Sylosis to be tight and they certainly are.
A now full Islington Academy greets the arrival of Sylosis with a big cheer and opener “Out from Below” from the latest album “Monolith” sets the tone for the performance, rock solid and as fiery as hell. It’s no surprise that half of the songs on show tonight come from this album, it really is a juggernaut that has been overlooked by a large portion of the music press.
“Fear of the World” continues to keep things moving along nicely and there’s no shortage of pit activity to match the show on stage. “All is not Well” see’s some unified head banging to this epic chugga of a song. Crowd favourite “Teras” is slotted in aswell which sees some further intensive crowd activity. All executed with stunning precision.
Josh Middleton has taken to the role of vocals to the point where I cannot remember what they were like as a 5 piece pre 2010. His solos are also very well crafted and he serves as a true focal point for their live performance.
“A Dying Vine” raises the pace to suitable frenetic levels with the drumming of Rob Callard shining through – another superb example of the fine songwriting here with this song hitting the mark on so many levels. Closer “Empyreal” from “Edge of the Earth” is a fine way to finish off the evening. Another excellent performance from a band that deserve continued success in 2013 and a fine turnout and no shortage of enthusiasm which is great for see for a homegrown band these days. An excellent evening!